Google denies plans to use aerial drones to gather data

10 Aug 2010

The purchase of a micro drone flying helicopter by a Google executive interested in robots does not mean the search giant is planning to use UAVs to gather data, the company said today.

“Google is not testing or using this technology. This was a purchase by a Google executive with an interest in robotics for personal use,” the company said this morning.

A report by a German business magazine Wirtshaftswoche, which reported that Google bought a micro drone remote control aircraft device from Microdrones, a German company, gave the impression that Google Maps were taking to the sky, literally.

The CEO of the company told the magazine that the radio-controlled helicopter device would be helpful to Google in mapping projects and that Google might buy more of the aircraft.

The search giant is no doubt sensitive about conjecture on its data gathering methods after various countries, including the UK and Germany, probed data gathering by Google StreetView cars after it emerged they collected data from thousands of unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Last month StreetView cars began reappearing on Irish roads, with a particular focus on mapping the five major cities of Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years